After years of flirting between different majors in college, I ended up with a degree in Economics and another in Latin American Studies…only to decide second semester senior year that what I really wanted to pursue was my love for food and my desire to help people. I LOVE food. Cooking and eating are two of my favorite past times, but what I really like about food is that because it is our fuel, a necessity for all humans, it unites us. We’re all eaters. To me food is fun because we don’t all eat the same things and we all ritualize food differently.
This can make it tricky, though, because our food preferences and customs don’t always align with what is healthiest. Furthermore, there isn’t one universally perfect diet, and Jim Bob’s lifestyle needs in New York City are going differ from Sally Lu’s on the farm. Between our food system that wasn’t designed with health as its first priority and the media providing mixed messages, eating well can be confusing and intimidating.
Seeing people struggle with food—maybe because they don’t know how to cook, or because they don’t have access to food, maybe they lack basic nutrition knowledge, or perhaps they have a particular lifestyle or health concern that they haven’t been able to healthfully navigate—is upsetting for me. So, after undergrad I headed to Cleveland for my masters in public health nutrition and dietetic internship at Case Western Reserve University. Now I’m in Houston getting my PhD in Kinesiology and researching how we can better address pediatric obesity. As a registered dietitian and scientist-in-training, I am excited for this blog to be a space to share my love for food and offer evidence-based tips for having a healthy, practical relationship with food.
My Food Philosophy
Food is more than fuel. It is an integral part of your day, your family traditions, and social experiences. When I was 10 my grandma lived in an assistant living home. Like many grandmas her age, she had very limited cooking ability, but she had a microwave. She would microwave me white brats and mix strawberry powder into my milk to make me pink milk for lunch, and we would watch the Sound of Music and play gin rummy all afternoon. Those brats were disgusting (and not the healthiest food), but I thought they were the best thing ever because she made them for me and I was with her. Food isn’t about the food all the time, it’s about the whole eating experience: who you are with, where you are, what it looks like, what it smells like, what it reminds you of, what other foods you’re eating it with, what just happened before you ate it, etc etc.
I think you should have cake on your birthday. I think you should buy your nephew an ice cream cone. I think you should go to happy hour after work sometimes. Food should fit your life, not the other way around. I believe that every food fits and that the key to a healthy relationship with food is to make nutritious foods fit our life instead of obsessing over making our life fit some “healthy” food lifestyle or our body fit some image on instagram.
Why The Food Flirt?
I’m all about trying new things. Flirting requires no commitment other than an open mind. Just give it a try! Change–especially lifestyle changes like what you eat and how physically active you are–can be scary and difficult to sustain. The best diet and the best form of physical activity is the one you’ll actually do. Figuring out what is best for you takes some flirting. After reading my blog posts I hope you are inspired to taste new foods, move in new ways, and think about food and activity in a different way!